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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—UK election rout, Monsanto’s big bid, Xi visits Moscow, midnight munchies explained

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The US jobs report card is expected to rebound… The US labor department will report how many jobs the country’s employers added in April, following meager results in March, when 126,000 jobs were added after a streak of monthly gains above 200,000. Analysts expect April’s numbers will bounce back to 222,500.

…While Canada’s struggles. Expectations are that 5,000 jobs were lost in April, pushing the unemployment rate up to 6.9%, as low oil prices continue to weigh heavily on the economy.

China’s president visits Moscow. Xi Jinping is expected to champion more energy deals between the two allies, and the Chinese military will also take part in Moscow’s Victory Day parade, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Chinese honor guards were filmed parading through the Russian capital singing the war-time favorite Katyusha.

US fast food chain Bojangles goes public. The $680 million chicken-and-biscuits restaurant is expected to raise $147 million. With 622 stores across the US and an old, unflappable menu, the chain is betting on investors’ hunger for restaurant stocks.

While you were sleeping

David Cameron won a decisive victory. The UK prime minister’s Conservative Party exceeded expectations and is approaching an absolute majority as votes are tallied (liveblog); even if the Tories fall short they can secure power with a coalition partner. Ed Miliband’s Labour Party is on track to lose all of its seats in its one-time stronghold of Scotland to the pro-independence Scottish National Party. UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to win a seat.

A Pakistani helicopter carrying foreign diplomats crashed. The Norwegian and Philippine ambassadors to Pakistan were among six people killed, including two pilots and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors, after the military aircraft crashed in the mountainous northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan. The Polish and Dutch ambassadors were injured.

Monsanto made a bid for Syngenta. The world’s largest seed company’s bid valued the Switzerland-based agricultural chemical company at $45 billion, a 35% premium to its share price. Syngenta declined the offer but left the door open to a higher Monsanto bid.

An accounting problem forced Toshiba to withdraw its earnings forecast. The Japanese conglomerate discovered improper accounting in its infrastructure projects, and said it would cancel a dividend payout and establish a third-party committee to investigate underreported costs on construction projects. The company’s shares plunged by more than 20% on the news.

The owner of the LA Times bought San Diego’s main newspaper. Tribune Publishing will pay $85 million for U-T San Diego (formerly the Union-Tribune) in a deal that will preserve both papers but allow them to share some stories. The two companies together employ almost 700 journalists; no layoffs have been announced yet.

Macquarie had a stellar year. The Australian investment banking group reported a full-year net profit of A$1.6 billion ($1.3 billion), up 27% from a year earlier, as its expansion into retail banking paid off.

China’s trade data looked bleak. Imports fell by a worse-than-expected 16.2% in April from a year earlier, and exports sank by 6.4%, much lower than an expected 2.4% increase. The dismal data will add pressure on the central bank to expand its stimulus measures.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on Norway’s too-good-to-last electric car incentives. “Electric cars are exempt from value added tax (VAT) and purchase tax, which on average in Norway add 50% to the cost of a vehicle. They are also exempt from road tolls, tunnel-use charges, and ferry charges. And they get free parking, free charging, and the freedom to use bus lanes. It seems silly to not buy an electric car.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

We need to know much arsenic we’re consuming. The US tests for it in water, why not in food?

Museums are hoarding art behind closed doors. Public money is being wasted on artwork the public can’t enjoy.

The Greeks are playing chicken with Germany. The country’s debt strategy is to dare Germany to run it over.

Alibaba still has big shoes to fill… The IPO euphoria may be over, but its investors still have Amazon-sized dreams (paywall).

…As it enters uncharted territory. The appointment of a younger CEO shows that Jack Ma knows the future is unclear.

Surprising discoveries

Cadbury is making a Vegemite chocolate. The yeast paste-flavored treat will be available in Australia in June.

The Golden Gate bridge was almost painted black and yellow. The US military was concerned it wouldn’t be visible in the fog.

Children trust their pets before their siblings. They are more likely to confide in them during times of stress and strife.

Blame your sleepy brain for the midnight munchies. We eat more at night because our brain’s reward system is desensitized.

Don’t ask Quora which job to take. An engineer weighing his options on the Q&A site had one of the offers abruptly rescinded.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Golden Gate color schemes, and midnight munchie favorites to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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